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Wildfires in Texas: Satellite images show extent of damage


Satellite images have shown the extent of the damage caused by the Texas wildfires.

The raging Smokehouse Creek Fire, the largest of all the fires, has been burning since Monday.

It has spread to the Oklahoma border after starting near towns northeast of Amarillo — and weather forecasts for the weekend threaten to fuel it further.

At least one person, an 83-year-old woman from Hutchinson County, is believed to have died in the fire, according to local media.

Firefighters were able to contain containment lines around only 3 percent of the fire Wednesday evening, officials said.

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A fire truck drives through a wall of flames

An area covering 1,300 square miles – equivalent to twice the size of London – has been burned so far, making the Smokehouse fire the second largest blaze in the country. StateIn the region’s history, only slightly less than 1,400 square miles burned in a 1996 fire.

US space technology company Maxar Technologies shared footage of the wildfire from above, highlighting the scale of the fire – which is one of several in the state -.

Cooler temperatures are expected Thursday with a chance of rain, giving firefighters an opportunity to strengthen containment before temperatures rise again over the weekend.

Before the fires.  Photo: Satellite image ©2024 Maxar Technologies
The town of Fritch before…

After the fires.  Photo: Satellite image ©2024 Maxar Technologies
…and after. Photos: Maxar Technologies

Authorities have not said what started the fires, but high winds, dry grass and unusually high temperatures fueled the flames.

Nim Kidd, chief of the Texas Division of Emergency Management, said the weekend forecast and the “scale and scale” of the fire posed the biggest challenges for firefighters.

“I don’t want the community to feel a false sense of security that all these fires won’t get bigger again,” he said. “It’s still a very dynamic situation.”

A look at the Canadians in Texas.  Photo: Satellite image ©2024 Maxar Technologies
The town of Canadian, Texas. Photo: Maxar Technologies

Burn scars on the landscape near Canada.  Photo: Satellite image ©2024 Maxar Technologies
The charred landscape near Canada. Photo: Maxar Technologies

The flames were pushed by powerful winds through the sparsely populated region, with smoke delaying aerial monitoring of damage in some areas.

“There was a point where we couldn’t see anything,” said Greg Downey, 57, describing his escape as the fire tore through his neighborhood.

“I didn’t think we’d make it.”

A nuclear weapons factory nearby was partially evacuated Tuesday evening and halted operations due to an out-of-control fire approaching its Panhandle location near Amarillo.

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The deceased woman was identified by family members as former substitute teacher Joyce Blankenship.

His grandson, Lee Quesada, said police told his uncle Wednesday that they found his remains in his burned home.


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